Compulsory Vaccination Given Thumbs Up

Voluntary vaccination programmes in high income countries inadequate.

KUALA LUMPUR, May 23 — Computer modelling of the spread of measles in high income countries have led experts to the conclusion that compulsory vacccination of children starting primary school may be needed to curb resurgence of this disease.

Researchers from the Bruno Kessler Foundation and Bocconi University who published their findings in the journal BMC Medicine, expressed concern that the existing voluntary programmes in countries such as Australia, the UK or the US, would not be sufficient to prevent outbreaks in the years to come.

Only in Singapore and South Korea, where coverage of voluntary vaccination regularly reach above 95 percent, would elimination of measles possibly be achieved and maintained in the near future.

They recommended that a strategy of compulsory vaccination be adopted in the UK, Ireland and the USA in order for these countries to reach stable herd immunity levels in the next decades. It would also be possible to maintain persistent measles elimination.

The proportion of children in England receiving both doses of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine by their fifth birthday has fallen to 87.2 percent over the last four years.

The World Health Organization states that 95 percent coverage is the level necessary to protect a population from a disease.

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